After winning the province’s first-ever national Jubilee Trophy women’s soccer medal last fall, Holy Cross returns to the local senior female circuit hungrier than ever for another shot at a national championship.
“I would hope, and certainly would say, the focus is back on the nationals,” said coach Jake Stanford.
“That’s certainly expected, but saying that, we can’t overlook the work that has to be done here this summer. Kirby and Feildians will be stronger, and with Mount Pearl being the new team in the league, you’re not sure what they’re bringing to the table.
“So we certainly can’t start taking anything for granted.”
After going unbeaten in 2016, with 18 wins and one draw, the Crusaders finished first again last season with 13 wins, two draws and just a single loss.
Holy Cross won the provincial Jubilee Trophy championship, its second straight all-Newfoundland crown following an eight-year championship run by C.B.S. Kirby, which won the provincial championship under different names.
At the nationals in Surrey, B.C., Holy Cross guaranteed itself at least a bronze after topping its preliminary-round pool, but a 3-0 loss to eventual champion Edmonton Victoria of Alberta denied the Newfoundland champions a higher finish.
“We’ve been training indoors all winter, and on the field since the first of April,” Stanford said. “Everyone knows what they have to do.”
Holy Cross added three players from last year’s Canada Games squad — Kristen Jenkins, Kate Hickey and Kristyn Lee — in addition to 2013 Canada Games grad Sarah Wicks, who played at the University of Jacksonville in Florida.
Holy Cross swept the regular season awards, with Jessie Noseworthy winning the top scorer and MVP awards, Holly O’Neill rookie of the year honors and Keisha Young as top defender. Stanford was coach of the year and Noelle Stanford was most spirited player.
Noseworthy, Jane Pope, Nicole Torraville, Teri Murphy and Jamie Crocker were all-stars.
Feildians won only two games last season in 16 starts, and Kirby certainly fell on hard times, with only a single win. However, Kirby still has Malorie Harris, the top player in Jubilee Trophy play the last number of years, and 2017 Canada Games graduate Sydney Walsh in goal. Walsh had an outstanding rookie season for the Memorial Sea-Hawks last fall, and may be the top keeper in provincial play.
Mount Pearl returns to Jubilee Trophy for the first time in three or four years, and is also joined by the St. John’s U17 squad.